CVMBS Staff, Faculty Earn Campus-Wide Distinguished Achievement Awards

Story by Aubrey Bloom, CVMBS Communications

Two members of the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) have received Distinguished Achievement Awards from the Association of Former Students for their positive impact on Texas A&M.

The university-level awards are presented each year to faculty and staff who exhibit the highest standards of excellence.

Dr. Laura Hammons ‘97

Dr. Laura Hammons headshot
Dr. Laura Hammons

Hammons, CVMBS instructional technologist, was recognized in the staff category.

Hammons was an essential part of the college’s move to online learning last spring at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a support letter for her nomination for the award, CVMBS clinical associate professor Dr. Tracy Vemulapalli emphasized how crucial Hammons’ role was.

“Dr. Hammons saved our entire teaching program,” she wrote. “This is neither hyperbole nor an idle boast. This past spring, educators in our college were faced with a single week to switch from face-to-face to remote learning. As educators are already tasked with heavy teaching demands, this had the potential to significantly undermine our teaching effectiveness—to our students’ detriment. From that day on, Dr. Laura Hammons has led the charge to help us meet this challenge head-on.”

Hammons also was instrumental in moving the college’s job and externship fair online, which included more than 400 students and 160 veterinary practice representatives; she oversaw the college’s adoption of a secure exam platform ExamMonitor; and she helped move the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) students’ communication curriculum online, coordinating students, professors, and actors through Zoom sessions to replicate the pre-COVID-19 experience as closely as possible.

Associate dean for Professional Programs Dr. Karen Cornell summed up Hammons’ contribution in her nomination letter.

“When I read the description of this award, I cannot imagine a candidate who has demonstrated more clearly a significant contribution to the welfare of Texas A&M University beyond the expectations of their position,” she wrote.

Dr. Andra Voges ‘88

Dr. Andra Voges headshot
Dr. Andra Voges

Voges, a clinical professor of radiology in the CVMBS’ Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences (VLCS) was recognized in the teaching category.

According to Dr. Susan Eades, associate dean for administration for the CVMBS’ Canyon campus and former VLCS department head, Voges is nationally known for developing curriculum to teach diagnostic ultrasound skills to veterinary students and graduate veterinarians.

“Dr. Voges has developed sequential laboratories that utilize low-fidelity and high-fidelity models that start with basic principles and sequentially add skills and concepts toward development of diagnostic imaging capability needed for the practice of veterinary medicine,” Eades wrote. “These learning experiences are well designed to align with clear objectives.

“This in-depth instruction at Texas A&M is superior to that of most veterinary schools and the diagnostic ultrasound skill of Texas A&M graduates is known nationally,” Eades continued. “Veterinarians employing our graduates and summer extern students have been very impressed by the skills of our graduates since implementation of the curriculum developed by Dr. Voges.”

Voges, who also received an Association college-level Outstanding Achievement in Teaching award, also trains and mentors veterinary residents and interns. As a result of her teaching methods and preparing residents for the American College of Veterinary Radiologists certification exam, the pass rate for Texas A&M residents is above the national average at more than 90%.

“In reviewing Dr. Voges’ dossier and reading the comments made by her students, it is quite apparent that she is making an enormous impact on the careers of young veterinarians,” Eades wrote. “She is certainly deserving of this prestigious award.”

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Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of CVMBS Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; jgauntt@cvm.tamu.edu; 979-862-4216